April 10, 2024

I worked at eBay for over 5 years, but once I quit I also stopped selling on their site. I was a silver powerseller and had a pretty decent little side income going. It’s been about 5 years since I quit and coincidentally I now work pretty much right next door to them.

I came across a box of stuff in my garage that I almost threw away but figured I’d see what they were selling for on eBay. Turns out some old D&D games sold for a few bucks so I figured ‘what the hell’, I’ll throw them on ebay and maybe make enough to buy a tank of gas off of them.

This turned into a horrible experience with ebay, and made me even happier I left when I did. First: the fees have skyrocketed! Their final value fees used to top out at about 5%, now they were up to 15% for the things I was selling. Second, I could not offer expedited, express or any other fast shipping for my books as there is a $4 maximum shipping charge for books! I guess if people want their books fast they just have to suffer. So rather than just throw the books away I went ahead and listed them for sale with some other stuff.

The next problem I had was with a buyer. I posted on one auction that priority shipping was $7.99. This is a LOSS to me as flat rate priority shipping was over $10, but the price of the item wound up to be so high it was no problem. This is the only shipping option I offered and I had it boxed up ready to go the day the item was listed. Once the item ended, the idiot buyer started in with complaints about the shipping price and how he hated how sellers gouged buyers with inflated shipping costs to make more profit. Even though I explained I was actually losing money on shipping, he was not satisfied. He wanted cheaper media mail which I declined for a big reason: Media mail takes too long. It can take weeks, buyers get mad and charge back their payments through Paypal which Paypal always gives them if their stuff doesn’t show up in time, and media mail arrives after that and they have their item for free. I’ve seen this scam many times while working at eBay. The buyer still wanted cheaper shipping so I offered parcel post in the eBay invoice for $5.99. He TRIED to pay that, but the second shipping option was not selectable in the invoice, further infuriating the buyer.

I contacted eBay’s tech support and they confirmed that there was a technical glitch and it was not selectable but could do nothing. I explained this to the buyer and he didn’t believe me. We agreed not to complete the sale and when I filled out the form to get my final value fee credit for the transaction, the idiot buyer said he did not agree to not complete the transaction and I did not get my credit. Due to ebay’s invoice and payment not working, I’m already at a loss for my listing and final value fee on this item.

If only that was the end of this transaction I would have only been annoyed but what happened after that made me livid. I offered the sold item as a second chance offer to the 2nd place bidder who promptly bought and paid for the item. The first buyer said he meant to pay for the whole thing. I said all he had to do was pay the amount shown on the auction including the shipping as shown that he agreed to when bidding and it would have been sent already. Instead he argued and whined about the shipping for 3 days and never actually paid anything. He then sent me a threatening message through ebay to visit me in person the next time he was in the area and see how tough a fight I put up in person. He then left me a negative feedback. I had over 2100 with 100% positive! I reported the threat to eBay, and they sent him an email reminder not to do that again. (I still have friends there that checked his account notes for me). He was not suspended or anything, this guy had 3 feedback and was a new member. This kind of activity would have gotten you suspended in 2 seconds when I worked there.

This brings me to the final straw: I went to leave the buyer a negative feedback, and found sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers anymore !!!!!!!!!! You heard me, it’s UN-fucking possible for a seller to leave a buyer a negative feedback! So let’s wrap up this ‘return to ebay’ experience:

  • Fees are much higher
  • Can’t offer fast shipping for books
  • Invoice system was/is broken
  • Members allowed to make real world threats with no fear of sanction
  • You cannot warn others about horrible buyers with appropriate feedback

All in all, eBay is doing everything they can to prevent good sellers from using their site, I will be glad to honor that effort from now on.

3 thoughts on “Re-trying eBay: How Ebay still sucks

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I’d been on eBay since ’99 & continued to buy over the years, but hadn’t sold in forever. I had heard complaints from sellers, but thought they were just disgruntled whiners. Then, due to an unfortunate series of circumstances, I found myself in a new state, unemployed for almost a year, but with a house full of stuff I could sell. So I said to myself, “Oh, eBay is the answer! I can list 50 items free each month.” NOT! Despite 1200+ feedbacks at 100%, I was slapped with a ten-item per month LISTING (not selling) limit, and it cannot be lifted until I’ve SOLD $250 and gotten 25 positive feedbacks as a seller (many buyers don’t even bother to leave it). Then there are category limits. Last night I tried to simply RElist the same cell phone that had just gone unsold (that I’d paid 25ยข extra in listing upgrades on), and was informed I could not list any more cell phones for 30 days because it’s a ‘high-risk’ category.

    I’ve heard that Donohoe & crew are deliberately driving off the small & medium-sized sellers, discouraging the ‘garage sale’ atmosphere (that BUILT eBay), and wanting to turn it into “Amazon lite” with a mantra of “Buy it NEW, Buy it NOW” (and get it shipped ‘free’ the same day, too!) I’d be interested to know if your ‘inside contacts’ say this is indeed the current agenda.

    Seems to me the only sellers who are excited about eBay now are the old-school ones that are well-established, AND often have profitable side (or main) businesses which purport to teach others “How to get rich selling on eBay,” reminiscent of all the real estate investment gurus of the 80s & 90s. There are still a few of those people around selling seminars, but few of them really DOING it anymore, because since the housing crash, it’s hardly possible. In much the same way, these eBay ‘experts’ will still tell you it’s the fastest, easiest, cheapest way for someone to start their own small business, but the reality is it has become an unfriendly venue with profiteering sharks at eBay corporate and mostly scamming vultures in the buying ‘community’ with eBay policy making it easy for them to function with impunity.

    It’s so sad they ruined what was once maybe the best site on the web!

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